NO ZOMBIE CYCLONE CAN STOP SAILORS AT SAIL MELBOURNE13 Dec 2018
Sail Melbourne Day 1 (13 – 16 December 2018)
On the first day of 2018 Sail Melbourne International, Melbourne’s weather presented itself from a challenging side with the day starting out in rainy, windy and ever-changing conditions, requiring a lot of patience from sailors and race management alike.
But while zombie cyclone sitting over Melbourne led to major disruptions in other areas of the city, it did not stop the sailors from getting in some high-calibre racing action on Port Phillip.
And it certainly did not stop Australian Sailing Team’s experienced Olympic medallist sailors and World #1 Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD), who kick-started the competition successfully with two bullets and taking the lead in the men’s 470.
“We certainly don’t come here for the weather, but it’s still good to sail here, it’s great race management, a really good fleet, and obviously we want to support one of Australia’s most respected events. They promise us every year that it’s going to get sunny, but I live on the Gold Coast, so I don’t believe it,” Mat Belcher laughed.
“We had about 20 knots, two-metre chop, and torrential rain to start with and had to wait out there in the rain for about an hour and a half just for the breeze to stabilise. Then it ended up a lot better than it started with no rain, a couple metre seas and 15 knots,” Belcher added about the conditions.
After day one of racing, the Australians are leading the 470 fleet ahead of the Japanese crew of Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura in second (2,3) and with Spanish 2018 World Championships bronze medallists Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodrigues Garcí-Paz in third (5, 2).
The Olympic 470 class features one of the most international events of the regatta, with the fleet including sailors from seven countries.
Racing in the mixed fleet with the men are Germany’s top women’s 470 sailors Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort, who sit on equal points with Australian Sailing Squad’s Nia Jerwood (WA) and Monique de Vries (WA), who won Sail Sydney last week. Both crews had a first and second in the two races of the day.
“We are definitely hoping to beat the Aussie girls this time and we also hope for better weather conditions. No more rain please, but we are looking forward to the next days of racing,” Frederike Loewe said about the goals ahead.
“It was a bit crazy today, we arrived at the boat park and it was raining a lot and it never stopped until after the first race. I guess the conditions were perfect to start the acclimatisation process to head back to German winter next week, but it was a good day of racing,” Anna Markfort laughed.
The duo has been in Australia over the last five weeks training together with the Australians and other internationals 470 crews, including fellow Germans Simon Diesch and Phillipp Autenrieth.
See results here: http://bit.ly/SailMelb18Results
Source: Australian Sailing